Brendan Keenan: Instinct is for severe fiscal action now, but science sadly lacking
IT was the first €2bn "giveaway" Budget and, my, weren't we excited. Yet, might it all have been different if, back in 2000, Charlie McCreevy had heeded the EU Commission warning that his Budget was too generous and his surplus too small?
Cheerful Charlie, the bookie's friend, got lucky. Shortly after came the dot.com crash, and a short sharp recession. Mr McCreevy could pour further scorn on Brussels by pointing out that his generous Budget had helped alleviate the effects of that recession.
Mr McCreevy was claiming, correctly, to have brought in a counter-cyclical Budget. But that had not been the plan. Mr McCreevy did have a plan, which he famously described as spending it when you'd got it, and not spending it when you didn't.